It was Christmas time and I was in the midst of undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for breast cancer. These daily radiation treatments were wearing me down and I was finding it difficult to remain calm and positive, and I wasn’t feeling much of the Christmas spirit. My radiation technician did her best to be cheerful but it always unnerved me when she stepped out of the room, away from the dangerous radiation, to administer my treatment. I lay on the hard table alone and afraid waiting for invisible and potentially deadly radiation beams to enter my body. During this time I tried –unsuccessfully – to keep my mind from wandering:
What if the radiation machine goes berserk and I get a lethal dose?
What if the technician did not set me up correctly and my heart gets burned?
How do I know I’m even getting the radiation? I don’t feel anything.
When I was receiving chemotherapy, I tried guided meditation and visualization to imagine the chemo as water coming directly from a universal healing source. I envisioned this healing water entering into my bloodstream, washing away the cancer and cleansing my whole body. But on this day, looking up at the radiation machine looming over me, I couldn’t conjure up any positive images, nor could I connect with any kind of comforting presence.
I was brought out of my churning mind when I heard the radiation machine click and whir, signaling the start of the treatment. And at the same time, I became aware of music playing in the room and I heard these words from the very familiar Christmas carol:
Silent Night, Holy Night
Son of God, Love’s Pure Light
Radiant beams from Thy holy face…
As these words sank in, I relaxed immediately. Now I had a positive image of the radiation to work with. My worries and fears disappeared and I knew that I was getting the message that I was not alone. I felt as if God were telling me, “Don’t worry Liz, I got this. You’re going to be just fine.”
In the years since, every Christmas time when I hear this verse from Silent Night, I feel such gratitude and am reminded of the powerful message I received on the radiation table. We are never really alone and sometimes healing – in the form of reassurance – appears when we are feeling most alone and vulnerable. The Universe provides us with the messages and signs we need to guide us along our path – we just have to be open enough to receive them.